La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Oink Oink

It's been a while since I posted something about these girls.
They just go about their daily business of eating, sleeping,  rooting, playing and .....

Well, it is not a daily business, the escaping, but often enough. Little bastards.

Each time we repair and reinforce the fence some more. Next step. Rolls of barbed wire. That'll teach'em.

These little madams  have about half an acre to roam on, but oh no, they prefer rooting in this piece of stony ground.

This lot doesn't seem to grow as fast as our previous pigs. In my opinion that is probably because we don't feed these ones 'finisher'. They are fed with fermented oats and barley, barley meal and whey (to which they are addicted) We also give vegetables and fruit from time to time, but it's not their favourite. You'll get their full attention when you come with a bucket of fresh grass clippings. Nom nom nom.

At this rate they'll be here for a while yet. That's fine by me.

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to Irma La Douce (the white chicken in the front). She was not well and we had to bite the bullet and relieve her from suffering. RIP, lovely girl.

Patricia xxx...x

Monday, October 24, 2016


I've been hankering for new windows from the day we moved in. Well, earlier. Since the day we put an offer on the house actually.

The new windows arrived last Thursday and would have been installed this week. But that isn't going to happen for another week, at least, as the 4 largest windows were all wrong and had to be taken back by the guys who delivered.
Aaaargh ! 

What's another week or two in the grand scheme of things ?


Patricia xxx...x

Friday, October 21, 2016

Beautiful Irish Skies

I love a blue sky as much as the next person, but there is something to be said for the beautiful Irish skies.

I find the sky absolutely fascinating and when I sit in the kitchen (most of my time) I regularly look up. There are a whole lot of cracking cloud formations to be spotted and my camera always at hand.
All these photos were taken from just outside the house. 

Who needs forever blue skies ?
Not me.
Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bert's Pizza Oven

A few weeks ago, we decided to 'test' Bert's new pizza oven. He has never, ever made a pizza  in his life and he didn't make it now either. 
The oven is obviously meant to be used outdoors and the fuel used are wood pellets.

A torch is used to light the pellets and when they've caught on you just fill up with more pellets.

 As soon as the pellets are glowing and the oven is hot I started assembling the pizza. Ah yes, I always have a well topped pizza.
If you do this too early, it won't slide off the pizza peel.

Close the oven.
 Ticktock ticktock ticktock ticktock ... x 90  or thereabouts 

Ready !

Next time we won't be putting the oven in such a windy spot. The flames licked the pizza a tad too much. 
Very tasty, nonetheless. 

Patricia xxx...x

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Girl's Gotta Do What a Girl's Gotta Do.

 That girl was me (old hag more like). And what did I do ?


The kitchen counter tops look (almost) like new again.

A good clean and scrub, before I oiled the wood. It is something that should be done twice a year, but we've let one year slip by.  It was high time.

We use Woca Oil from Denmark and it works very well.  So far we've had no stubborn stains from normal (and more intense) kitchen use. 

Since our worktop is Douglas fir and I don't want it to turn yellow or orange I use the white oil, which gives a nice patina.

The weather was fabulous and I worked with doors and windows open.

The dogs enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. Millie had been lying most of the day on that spot, looking, relaxing and sleeping. I say 'most of the day' because she had a break when Bert took them out for a stroll over the land.

And that was my weekend. Now I can look forward to a relaxing week ahead ;-)

Patricia xxx...x

Friday, October 07, 2016

And We're Back in Autumn Mode

The crochet hooks and yarn have come back from their summer holidays (back of the sofa more likely) 
New projects have been started and the ladies who crochet have had their first get-together yesterday.

Lovely, as ever.

Patricia xxx...x

PS Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Little by Little...

And I mean very little by very little, I am organising (or trying to) the house from top to bottom.
After living in this house for 3.5 years it is time, isn't it ?
You move into a house that is actually not suited to your lifestyle (and clutter) and you dump all your belongings wherever you find a place. Then after building an extension onto the original house you get so used to things being stored in the wrong drawer, cupboard, wardrobe, room, which inevitably leads to days spent looking for this or that. 
But it has been niggling me for so long, I can't stand it any more. Thus, I made plans (in my head) to tackle one drawer at a time, one cupboard, one chest freezer....

I started with the medicine cabinet. They were stored in one of the original (deep) kitchen cabinets that now resides in the pantry. Too deep to find the things in the back and generally often used items ending up in the front to the extent that when you opened the door the lot would fall out. Bert I'm looking at you !
We have installed wall cabinets above the freezers and one of them is now the medicine cabinet.

It has made such a difference already, it is hard to imagine. And such a little thing.
All the meds for the pets are now also separate. No more rummaging through everything to get to a paracetamol for a splitting headache (not that I have many of these, luckily).
The wall cabinets above two chest freezers in the pantry. Note to self : paint walls.

Staying with the pantry, I've concocted a system for storing the eggs.

I found a sturdy piece of cardboard and glued  egg boxes onto it. First I cut away the lids of the boxes 

The eggs are pencil marked with the date and we fill from the left at the back and keep going, always from left to right.

Empty egg cartons are stored just above, where the medicines used to be.

We have 3 chest freezers, 2 in the pantry and one in the center of Bert's office.
They also got a sorting through (read, emptying and filling). One of them is now for pork, another for chicken, lamb and other meat. The third one is for vegetables, ready meals (homemade, of course) soups, cheese, .....

The kitchen was from the start reasonably well organised. The only thorn being the drawer with plastic containers. We found another unopened box in the attic which said plastic containers, still unpacked after more than 3 years. 

So far, so good. It's been tidy for several weeks now. I love those yoghurt pots. They are ideal for freezing soups and whatnot.

Something I did, before I received my surprise sewing machine was organise the sewing boxes.

 I just can't resist temptation when I shop at Lidl's and there are sewing materials on special offer.

It won't stay this tidy forever, I know, but it will for a while at least.

Have you organising tips to share, bar getting rid of all your stuff  ? I'd love to hear from you.

Patricia xxx...x
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